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Under The Radar – July 31, 2017

Jason Barrett

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The MLB Trade Deadline took place Monday, and as expected, a flurry of activity unfolded. However, the moves paled in comparison to the past week’s sports media developments. A reminder, if you’d like to have your individual or company’s news shared in this column in the future, please send any important details to us via email at JBarrett@hvy.tcp.mybluehost.me.

Now on to the news we go!

Great news for Mad Dog Sports Radio morning hosts Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik. The Morning Men have been tabbed by the Dan Patrick Show to fill in this Wednesday and Thursday. Cohen and Babchik will air on television on The Audience Network and NBC Sports Network. The only question is how many viewers will have the strength to hold down their breakfast after being visually exposed to a topless Babchik?

Changes are taking place in San Francisco. KNBR has parted ways with 680 evening host and update anchor Ray Woodson and cancelled the local 1050 programs, The Audible and The Ted Ramey Show. Woodson had been with KNBR for the past twenty years. He was recently hosting evenings when local play by play didn’t air on 680’s airwaves. On 1050, midday host Ted Ramey lost his daily talk show, but will continue to be heard on the radio station as the voice of the San Jose Earthquakes. Morning co-host Rudy Ortiz was also let go as part of the changes.

ESPN Radio is making a smart move tapping into their affiliates to feature some of their outstanding talent, while strengthening their relationships with local operators in the process. Case in point, 97.1 The Fan in Columbus weekday host and former Ohio State and NFL Linebacker, Bobby Carpenter, has been summoned by the network to join Dave Rothenberg and Eric Karabell on ESPN Radio’s Fantasy Focus football show. The program debuts when the NFL season begins.

Speaking of fantasy football, Nate Lundy announced on social media that the Fantasy Football Hour program he works on for Altitude Sports has received some great news. The show expects to expand into additional major markets. Lundy says further details will be provided soon.

Kirk Minihane of WEEI in Boston sat down with former program director Jason Wolfe for a fascinating conversation on his Enough About Me podcast. The first part of the interview reflects on Wolfe’s early years at WEEI and a number of key decisions that took place on his watch. The second part of the interview will be released soon. To hear Part 1 click here.

After adding Mike Jurecki last month to strengthen its midday show, 98.7FM Arizona’s Sports Station has made another move to increase their local offerings during evening hours. The radio station has added The Rundown with Luke Lapinski. The show is said to be opinion driven, fast paced, and offer a complete look at the biggest sports stories of the day. Phoenix sports fans can catch the program on non-local play-by-play game nights at 6pm MT.

That isn’t the only news that 98.7FM Arizona’s Sports Station has to share. A special congratulations is in order for Rod Lakin. After contributing in a variety of roles over the span of 11 years, Lakin has been promoted from Executive Producer to Assistant Program Director. In his new role, Lakin will take on additional duties including working closer with the digital content team and being further involved in the brand’s overall growth strategy.

Exciting news for 810 WHB in Kansas City. After 610 Sports announced last week it had been forced to part ways with the University of Kansas, the school wasted no time in announcing a new five-year deal with 610’s top competitor. The Union Broadcasting station will take over as the broadcast partner of the Jayhawks, airing both football and men’s basketball, as well as coaches shows on the radio station. For additional information click here.

Elsewhere on the college circuit, the Nevada Wolf Pack have found their next voice for football and men’s basketball. John Ramey has accepted the position and fills the void left behind by Ryan Radtke who joined Westwood One to call national games.

Staying in Nevada, ESPN Las Vegas 1100/100.9FM have hired a new producer. Chrissy Paradis is on her way to Sin City to contribute to the station’s weekday programs. Paradis previously produced Rob Dibble’s show in Hartford.

After announcing in May that they had reached an agreement to move football and men’s basketball broadcasts to 1280 and 97.5FM The Zone, Utah State and Learfield Communications have revealed that VP of radio operations and weekday sports talk show host Scott Garrard will serve as the school’s new play-by-play announcer for both football and men’s basketball. Former Utah State Offensive Tackle Kevin Whimpey will provide color commentary on football broadcasts. The school says an announcement will be made at a later time regarding the men’s basketball color analyst.

After ten seasons calling Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs baseball, Jon Schaeffer is heading west. The play-by-play announcer shared that he is joining XTRA Sports 1360 in San Diego. Schaeffer will produce the midday program hosted by Mark Willard and Rich Ohrnberger.

Tim Donnelly has received an opportunity to advance his career. The former Delaware quarterback turned Nebraska sports director and host, has agreed to join ESPN Ithaca where he’ll contribute in a variety of ways including as a weekday talk show host. Donnelly is expected to start his new job in a few weeks.

WGR Buffalo Bills beat/sideline reporter Sal Capaccio has created a new podcast titled SalSports…and Stuff. Capaccio says the podcast will feature guests from a number of different backgrounds and he hopes to feature a number of interesting stories for the benefit of the audience.

Congratulations to Danielle McCartan. The high school teacher and sports blogger earned an hour of air time last week to host on WFAN in New York. McCartan hosted the 3a-4a ET hour of the Thursday overnight shift.

95.7 The Game in San Francisco is adding to its bench. The radio station has brought in Jason Page to work part-time shifts.

Brian Custer is in great spirits after securing a new deal with FOX Sports to provide play-by-play this season for college football games. Custer will team with former NFL Linebacker Ben Leber to call a combination of Big 10, Big 12, and Pac-12 games.

The Athletic continues to add talented writers to its numerous local platforms. This week Seth Davis‘ new college basketball platform The Field House added Sam Vecenie. The Athletic CFB brought in Max Olson, and The Athletic Cleveland welcomed Aaron Portzline. The Athletic Chicago though informed Sam Highkin that his contract will not be renewed this September.

Last but not least, Michael Phillips has been named the new sports editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Sports Radio News

Zolak and Bertrand Broadcast During Patriots/Panthers Fights

“I’ve never seen anything like this at a camp… this is great today,” beamed Zolak.

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Zolak and Bertrand

Scott Zolak and Marc Bertrand were broadcasting live from the New England Patriots’ joint practice with the Carolina Panthers. During their show, things got heated between the two teams, multiple times, and the show was there to call it all.

Bertrand was bringing the show back from commercial break and noted that there had just been a fight moments before Zolak and Bertrand were live.

“This drill got escalated by the Panthers here,” said co-host and former Patriots quarterback. “This is number three (fights)in a freaking kickoff drill. A kickoff drill!”

Shortly after, Bertrand was describing the efforts to separate the two teams when even more chaos erupted.

“They’ve separated all the players,” began Bertrand, sensing some calm was being restored. “They’ve sent them on their way to the next period so you’ve got — and now here comes another fight. Another major fight! It’s happening right in front of the stands.”

“These guys are a-holes man,” spoke Zolak. “Get these clowns out of here. All they want to do is fight. This is unreal. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“What a scene,” said Bertrand.

“I’ve never seen anything like this at a camp… this is great today,” beamed Zolak. “Thank God we’re down here!”

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Sports Radio News

1140 The Bet Cancels ‘The Playmakers’

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

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In another cut from Audacy, 1140 The Bet has cancelled The Playmakers on their Las Vegas station.

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Brown tweeted the news, saying “Sadly I have been informed that yesterday was our final show. I am thankful for the people it brought into my life & the experiences we created I am incredibly proud of our work & the boundaries we are eager to push in sportz radio. Today is a tough day. Tomorrow is on the way.”

Hernandez followed up by tweeting “I can’t put into words right now how I feel right now but in my radio journey from College in Tampa to Phoenix and now Las Vegas you were the best teammate I’ve ever had in radio and more importantly a great person. I appreciate and will miss you Badass Brown.”

According to the station’s website, it will replace The Playmakers with You Better You Bet from the BetQL Network.

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Sports Radio News

1250-AM The Fan in Milwaukee Reportedly Cancels Local Programming

The station is streaming CBS Sports and has removed the local daily lineup from the 1250 AM The Fan website.

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1250 AM The Fan

Stunning sports radio news out of Milwaukee. 1250-AM The Fan has suddenly removed all of its local programming and switched over to CBS Sports Radio.

The news came as a shock to local listeners but even more surprising to the station’s staff. Here’s a tweet from Evan Heffelfinger noting that today was “everyone’s” last day at the station.

The station’s stream is currently airing CBS Sports Radio. The local daily lineup has also been removed from the 1250 The Fan website although show podcasts still remain.

In regards to the station’s talent, most have been quiet since the news began to trickle out. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that recent NFL Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler was part of the cuts. Bart Winkler, Tim Allen, and Gary Ellerson are expected to be out as well.

“Over the past few years, Audacy has been on a transformational journey, investing in our capabilities to serve our listeners and customers and accelerate our growth through a number of strategic acquisitions, enhancements to our platform, and the addition of hundreds of team members to our workforce,” explained an Audacy spokesperson. “We remain committed to this exciting transformation which has made us a much stronger organization, but in light of current macroeconomic headwinds, like so many other companies, we have been proactively taking actions to mitigate against the impact of any downturn. These include evaluating budgets, reducing expenses, and also reducing our workforce.”

One host who is expected to remain involved is Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer. Fifer was part of the midday show, and also helped behind the scenes. According to sources, he’s likely to contribute off-air and with additional brand projects. The rest will have an opportunity to explore opportunities should any become available at 97.3 The Game, ESPN 94.1, WTMJ or any other local outlets.

Upon learning of the news, a few former 1250 hosts, Mike Wickett and Cliff Saunders, took to social media to share their sadness.

Ryan Maguire, who served as the PD of 1250 The Fan from 2006-2009, and is currently the PD of crosstown rivals ESPN Milwaukee and WTMJ, provided his perspective.

One host who left before the station was dismantled was former afternoon man Ramie Makhlouf. The longtime Milwaukee voice exited in June to join Sactown Sports 1140.

This is a developing story and as more information becomes available we’ll pass it along. 1250-AM The Fan is owned by Audacy, which just announced plans to reduce less than 5% of its programming staff.

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